The finished Colossus is to be pitted against a contemporary general-purpose PC in a code-breaking race. The raw fodder for the race is a set of messages encrypted using Nazi ciphers and transmitted by amateur radio enthusiasts in Germany.
It's all in support of a new National Museum of Computing, based at Bletchley. What a cool idea -- I'm now officially planning a day-trip to Bletchley to see the museum.
Link to BBC Colossus reborn story, Link to BBC crypto race story (via Futurismic)
He had no working machines to look at because, on Churchill's orders, the Colossus machines were dismantled once the war was over. Many parts, mostly the 1500 valves, went back to telephone exchanges and the rest were broken into pieces "no bigger than a man's hand".
Mr Sale has tracked down the few living engineers who worked on the project and plumbed their expertise to guide the rebuilding effort...
The German participants in the code-cracking challenge will transmit three enciphered messages - one hard, one very hard and one ultra hard.
The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones said there was a "busy and business-like" atmosphere at Bletchley as the code cracking attempts got underway.
"We've seen webcam video of the Germans preparing to send the first signals," he said.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.